A museum in the Netherlands has published the largest and most detailed photo of Rembrandt̵
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which because of the, shared the photo online Tuesday. It is 44.8 gigapixels (44,804,687,500 pixels) and consists of 528 exposures, which are divided into 24 rows of 22 images that were combined using neural networks.
Frans Banninck Cocq, mayor and leader of the Amsterdam City Guard, commissioned the artist around 1640 to paint the city’s militia and police. Cocq appears as the central figure in Rembrandt’s oil on canvas, which measures 3.79 by 4.53 meters and weighs 337 kilograms.
The painting is full of dramatic lights and shadows, movements and secrets. If you zoom in on the newly available “Hyper Resolution” photo of the Rijksmuseum, you can see single brushstrokes on Cocq’s ornate white collar and pigment spots on his outstretched hand, as well as on the helmets and weapons of the civil guards around him.
The photo will not only serve as a fascinating resource for art lovers, but also as a snapshot that will help experts track the age of the painting and determine the best course of action to prevent further deterioration.
The imaging team used a macro X-ray fluorescence scanner to scan the painting inch by inch. The tool uses X-rays to analyze chemical elements in the color such as calcium, iron, potassium and cobalt.
“The photo is an important source of information for the researchers, and online visitors can use it to admire Rembrandt’s masterpiece down to the smallest detail,” said museum director Taco Dibbits in a statement.
The photo is part of Operation Night Watch, an extensive research and conservation project that is taking place in the Rijksmuseum in a clear glass chamber designed by a French architect. COVI9-19 suspended on-site work on the project for two months, although the team continued to analyze research data from home. Work resumed in person on Wednesday, but to meet the demands of social distancing, no more than two people will work on the painting at the same time.
Online viewers can continue to watch the project remotely and visit the larger museum on a Google Street View tour.
Operation Night Watch started last July. The second phase of the project, in which the painting is being restored, has been delayed due to the pandemic. Originally planned for later this year, it is now scheduled for early 2021.
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